Thursday, January 10, 2013
Flash Point by Nancy Kress
We meet Amy in a world after the Collapse that cause a melt down of the economy. Many things have changed as a result - like 16 years old being the legal age. In search of a job so she can support her ailing grandmother (a scientist who lost her job) and younger sister (a gorgeous 15 year old with a penchant for shoplifting), Amy applies for a position with a television station. Thinking it is a job behind the scenes, she is surprised to learn that she will be on a reality show where viewers can win money by predicting how the teens will behave in created scenarios. The money and medical benefits for her grandmother are too good to turn down (not to mention the contract Amy already signed).
Amy finds herself (along with 5 others) in partially computer generated scenarios that can happen anytime and anywhere. Some are innocuous, but as stakes get higher (and ratings become worrisome) the scenarios take a darker turn. The person is in charge of the show, Myra, has no problem exploiting her new television stars. The television station is also purchased by a controversial company that draws protesters and serious threats to Amy and the others.
And speaking of the others...there is Cai, a really hot guy who Amy is immediately drawn to; Waverly, a beautiful and rich aspiring actress who seems only concerned about herself; Rafe, a geeky nice guy; Violet, a dancer who is friendly to Amy; Tommy, the one who shouldn't be there at all due to his decreased mental capacity; and Lynn, a mostly forgettable person (for reasons I cannot give away). Just for a bonus - there is Kaylie, Amy's younger sister, who is more than willing to draw any attention to herself and fight with her sister.
A lot happens in this story - perhaps too much sometimes. Still, it is fascinating to wonder where this society is going, where the television show is going, and where these characters' lives are going.
For more info about this book, check out the Evergreen library catalog.